Hello again FCPA members! As a reminder, my name is Ron Watson and I was recently hired to represent the FCPA before both the Legislature and the Board of Chiropractic Medicine. I have learned a lot about your profession already and am excited to learn more so I can effectively keep fighting for you.
So with the 2018 Legislative session now complete, what does your lobbyist do next?!? We hit the ground spreading the "Vitamin C is Vitamin C regardless of route" message for 2019, of course! Starting with Department of Health (DOH) - Board of Chiropractic Medicine members and then moving onto prospective legislative candidates. Education, education and more education.
On April 23, I will speak at DOHs Medical Quality Assurance Long-Range planning meeting in Tallahassee. This day long planning meeting gathers all DOH leadership, healthcare board members and professional associations. They will hear about our movement for nutrition equality and proper patient care, but they will also see the FCPA is stepping up its game and plans to be a force moving forward.
Starting in early May and running through mid June, I will be traveling the state attending the Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists (FAPL) candidate interviews. FAPL targets all Florida Legislative "open" seats where there will be a brand new legislator. We invite all announced open seat candidates, both Rs and Ds, and interview them in half hour time slots over a two day period. It is a great opportunity to educate as well as introduce FCPA issues.
Depending upon how things shake out, there could be as many as 34 of 120 open House seats (28%) and possibly 7 of 40 open Senate seats (18%). Cities include Tallahassee, Orlando, Jacksonville, Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami.
And this is just the beginning!! Stay tuned....
End of Session Summary
The 2018 Legislative Session came to a close on Sunday March 11th, instead of the scheduled “sine die” of Friday, March 9th. This was due to the mandatory 72 hour cooling off period for a final vote on the budget. This delay was partly due to session being engulfed by the horrific shooting deaths of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland. Because of the tragedy and response, a bill (SB 7026) did barely pass (20-18 in the Senate and 67-50 in the House) with gun restrictions that included a 3 day waiting period, raising the minimum age to 21 to purchase, and banning bump stocks. The bill also included mental health funding, school hardening and a controversial proposal to arm teachers. Emotions were raw with the most liberal democrats complaining it didn’t go far enough and conservative republicans opposing the bill for going too far.
As noted above, the legislative Session was extended until March 11th to approve the final conference report on the $89 billion budget. The extension of session applied only to budget matters, so all other pending bills died on Friday evening when they adjourned. The 2018-19 budget was quickly received and signed by Governor Scott. It contained his smallest veto list since he became Governor of only $64 million.
The 2018 session had even fewer bills passing (196) than did the 2017 session (231), which was the smallest in over a decade. With the late focus on Parkland, many other major issues were left on the table which included; gambling, workers compensation, and sexual harassment, to name a few. However, both Senate President Joe Negron and Speaker Richard Corcoran did manage to pass their education priorities.
The good news!
After four years of trying, the Direct Primary Care bill (HB 37), that includes chiropractic physicians in the definition of primary care practitioner finally passed the legislature and is heading to Governor Scott's desk. The Governor has 15 days to act once he receives the bill. He can sign the bill, let it become law without his signature or he could veto the bill. Having Chiropractic Physicians included in the definition of primary care is a big deal. This new physician/patient relationship cuts out the insurance company and might just be the new thing in Chiropractic medicine!
PIP repeal is dead! This was another successful major battle during 2018 session; however, we can expect it to return year after year. The 2018 Senate version was better than the House since it at least included the $5,000 Med Pay provision. We had the Med Pay language amended to include non-hospital practitioners, including chiropractic physicians before it was killed in committee. The insurance companies, trial lawyers and health care practitioners will continue this battle, but at least we are at the table, throwing punches.
Work still needed!
The pursuit of nutritional equality is just beginning and as Rod always says, Vitamin C is Vitamin C regardless of route. We made good progress with some of the health care legislators, but were not quite able to get our amendment passed onto a bill. As we head into the 2019 session, we will be attempting to file our own stand-alone bill which will elevate your profession and help you help your patients!
The FCPA had a good first year lobbying in Tallahassee, but we want to have an excellent year in 2019. This means getting better organized and participating in the election process. The FCPA goal is to have a FCPA member assigned to every Senator and Representative as their Key Contact and go-to person for everything Chiropractic!
And remember, now that the 2018 session is finally over, Everyone’s "life, liberty or property are safe"!
The 2018 Legislative Session started on January 9 instead of the normal beginning in March. We have hit the ground running with bills and amendments having already passed, while some others are still pending. Some changes are good for you and some pretty bad. Below are some of the highlights:
Remember the ole saying,” No man’s life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session!” The 2018 session is set to end on March 9th and I will be watching your back every step of the way.
Get to “Know Your Legislator”!
In the Florida Legislature, there are 40 Senators and 120 Representatives. Below are the members of the two major healthcare committees in each respective chamber and what city the legislator’s main office is located within.
Creating a relationship with every legislator is important; however, the below legislators regularly vote on topics directly impacting chiropractic issues! (Click on their names for additional information)
Senate Committee on Health Policy
Senator Dana D. Young [R] Tampa
Tallahassee (850) 487-5018 District (813) 281-5507
Senator Kathleen Passidomo [R] Naples
Tallahassee (850) 487-5028 District (239) 417-6205
Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto [R] Ft. Myers
Tallahassee (850) 487-5027 District (239) 338-2570
(Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto is a newly added member.)
Senator Lauren Book [D] Plantation
Tallahassee (850) 487-5032 District (954) 424-6674
Senator Dorothy L. Hukill [R] Port Orange
Tallahassee (850) 487-5014 District (386) 304-7630
Senator Travis Hutson [R] Palm Coast
Tallahassee (850) 487-5007 District (386) 446-7610
Senator Bill Montford [D] Tallahassee
Tallahassee (850) 487-5003 District (850) 487-5003
Senator Bobby Powell [D] West Palm Beach
Tallahassee (850) 487-5030 District (561) 650-6880
House Health & Human Services Committee
Cummings, W. Travis [R] Orange Park
Tallahassee (850) 717-5018 District (904) 278-5761
Santiago, David [R] Deltona
Tallahassee (850) 717-5027 District (386) 575-0387
Democratic Ranking Member:
DuBose, Bobby B. [D] Ft. Lauderdale
Tallahassee (850) 717-5094 District (954) 467-4206
Rep. Kamia Brown [D] Ocoee
Tallahassee (850) 717-5045 District (407) 905-3806
Berman, Lori [D] Boynton Beach
Tallahassee (850) 717-5090 District (561) 374-7850
Brodeur, Jason T. [R] Sanford
Tallahassee (850) 717-5028 District (407) 302-4800
Burton, Colleen [R] Lakeland
Tallahassee (850) 717-5040 District (863) 413-2640
Davis, Tracie [D] Jacksonville
Tallahassee (850) 717-5013 District (904) 353-2180
Grant, James "J.W." [R] Tampa
Tallahassee (850) 717-5064 District (813) 265-6272
Grant, Michael [R] Port Charlotte
Tallahassee (850) 717-5075 District (941) 613-0914
Hardemon, Roy [D] Miami
Tallahassee (850) 717-5108 District (305) 795-1224
Harrell, Gayle B. [R] Stuart
Tallahassee (850) 717-5083 District (772) 221-4011
Magar, MaryLynn "ML" [R] Hobe Sound
Tallahassee (850) 717-5082 District (772) 545-3481
Massullo, MD, Ralph E. [R] Beverly Hills
Tallahassee (850) 717-5034 District (352) 527-4510
Pigman, Cary [R] Sebring
Tallahassee (850) 717-5055 District (863) 386-6000
Silvers, David [D] West Palm Beach
Tallahassee (850) 717-5087 District (561) 357-4824
Stevenson, Cyndi [R] St. Augustine
Tallahassee (850) 717-5017 District (904) 823-2300
White, Frank [R] Pensacola
Tallahassee (850) 717-5002 District (850) 595-0467
Williams, Patricia H. [D] Ft. Lauderdale
Tallahassee (850) 717-5092 District (954) 202-3201
Yarborough, Clay [R] Jacksonville
Tallahassee (850) 717-5012 District (904) 723-5300
FCPA in Tallahassee @ the Capitol